New Beyoncé documentary shows the struggle behind the triumph

By Vanessa Rupertus

Elm Staff Writer

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, reigning matriarch of the music industry, sealed a Netflix deal worth a staggering $60 million for her behind-the-scenes documentary about her thoughts leading up to her performance in 2018 at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

The first of three specials premiered on Apr. 17, titled “Homecoming,” and received an impressive 97 percent approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Beyoncé takes pride in her performance, and it shows in her narration for “Homecoming.”

“I feel we made something that made my daughter proud, made my mother proud, my father proud, and all my people that are my brothers and sisters around the world. And that’s why I live,” said Beyoncé in one of the voiceover segments of the film.

The star explained her goal was to represent African-Americans and to “[bring their] culture to Coachella.” In particular, she wanted to do black women justice.

“As a black woman, I used to feel like the world wanted me to stay in my little box,” Beyoncé said. “I wanted us to be proud of not only the show, but proud of the process. Proud of the struggle.”

The film stars—in addition to Queen Bey herself—her sister, Solange, and her husband, Jay-Z. It also features Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland, who, together with Beyoncé, were members of the R&B group Destiny’s Child.

Fans are ecstatic over this in-depth commentary, since, away from the stage, the performer seems to shy away from the public eye and interview offers.

While Beyoncé may be a bit wary of the press, her position as executive producer, writer, and director of the documentary gave the public a chance to see her creative spirit and work ethic in action. Not to mention, fans got to experience a vulnerable side to the star they’ve rarely seen.

A particularly poignant part of the film was when she opened up about the difficulty of her pregnancy with her twins, Sir Carter and Rumi, in 2018.

“My body went through more than I knew it could,” Beyoncé admitted. “I had high blood pressure. I developed toxemia, preeclampsia, and in the womb one of my babies’ heart beats paused a few times, so I had to get an emergency C-section.”

After her pregnancy, she put herself on a strict diet to ready herself for her first time on stage for Coachella after giving birth.

“In order for me to meet my goals, I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol,” she said. “I’m hungry.”

Her struggle to balance family life with her life as a cultural icon and performer put a strain on her like nothing ever had before. Her raw honesty and dedication to her craft made “Homecoming” all the more special for her and her fans.

Beyoncé’s words on her struggle say it all: “What people don’t see is the sacrifice. I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could. And I learned a very valuable lesson: I will never push myself that far again.”

In many ways, her Coachella performance was a “once in a lifetime” experience.

Queen Bey is the queen for a reason, and we will always welcome her back home.

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